A Syrian government official says the Arab League-U.N. envoy has met with President Bashar Assad in Damascus.

The official says Lakhdar Brahimi held talks with Assad early Wednesday. It was the first direct contact between the men since Brahimi angered the Syrian leader in December by saying the Assad family's more-than-40-year rule of Syria was "too long."

Brahimi is in Syria as part of his efforts to convene a long-delayed peace conference to try to end the civil war.

The prospects for the proposed conference appear dim. The Syrian opposition is divided over whether to attend, while the government has said it will not talk peace with the armed opposition.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.